Summer Reading Project


Overview

Every summer we have a group reading project. This is a chance for us to continue to grow as a community even though we will be separated by many miles (we say that every summer – but it’s doubly true this year). This summer we’re reading Christianity for Modern Pagans: Pascal’s Pensées Edited, Outlined & Explained by Peter Kreeft, an annotated translation of The Pensées by a professor of philosophy.

In his words, “I know no pre-twentieth-century book except the Bible that shoots Christian arrows farther into modern pagan hearts than the Pensées. I have taught ‘Great Books’ classes for twenty years, and every year my students sit silent, even awed, at Pascal more than at any other of the forty great thinkers we cover throughout the history of Western philosophy and theology.”

How To Participate

If you’re interested, buy the book and fill out the form then read along with us! Incoming students as well as alumni are welcome to read along with us. Filling out the form means that we’ll add you to the discussions that we have about the book, but if you prefer to read on your own in stealth mode, go for it.

Stanford’s virtual commencement is Sunday, June 14. We’ll begin reading the following week. There will be about 25 pages of reading per week. Here’s the reading schedule:

 Reading targetGlen’s commentary
 Friday, June 19Preface
Chapter One: Order
Chapter Two: Method
loving our skeptical friends
 Friday, June 26Chapter Three: Wretchedness
Chapter Four: The Paradox of Greatness and Wretchedness
my favorite Pensee
 Friday, July 3Chapter Five: Vanity
Chapter Six: Vanity of Human Justice
Pascal was prescient
 Friday, July 10Chapter Seven: Vanity of Human Reason
Chapter Eight: Vanity of Dogmatism
Chapter Nine: Vanity of the Philosophers
 Friday, July 17Chapter Ten: Alienation
Chapter Eleven: Death
 Friday, July 24Chapter Twelve: Sin, Selfishness, Self-Love
 Friday, July 31Chapter Thirteen: Diversion
Chapter Fourteen: Indifference
Friday, August 7Chapter Fifteen: Passionate Truth-Seeking
Chapter Sixteen: Three Levels of Reality
Chapter Seventeen: The Heart
Chapter Eighteen: Faith and Reason
 Friday, August 14Chapter Nineteen: Why God Hides
Chapter Twenty: Reliability of Scripture
 Friday, August 21Chapter Twenty-One: The Jews
Chapter Twenty-Two: Miracles
 Friday, August 28Chapter Twenty-Three: Uniqueness of Christianity
Chapter Twenty-Four: How the Christian Key Fits the Human Lock
 Friday, September 4Chapter Twenty-Five: The Wager
 Friday, September 11Chapter Twenty-Six: Christ
Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Body of Christ
Chapter Twenty-Eight: The Experience of Christ
 summary thoughts

Fall quarter classes are currently slated to begin September 14, 2020.


We’ve recently started archiving our previous summer reading projects for the curious

The 2019 Book: Celebration of Discipline

Every year we do a summer reading project. This is a chance for us to continue to grow as a community even though we will be separated by many miles. This summer we’re reading Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster (Amazon). This book, first published in 1978, has helped millions develop habits to move them closer to Christian maturity.

Here’s the reading schedule.

Commencement is Sunday, June 16 – summer begins. 

Reading targetGlen’s commentary
 Friday, June 21introduction & Chapter 1 – The Spiritual Disciplines: Door to Liberation. Note: we’re saving the preface and foreword for later.kicking off the summer reading project
 Friday, June 28Chapter Two: Meditationmeditating upon Scripture
 Friday, July 5Chapter Three: Prayersome suggestions from Glen
 Friday, July 12Chapter Four: Fastingforegoing food for spiritual purposes
 Friday, July 19Chapter Five: Study and Forewordupping your mental game
 Friday, July 26Chapter Six: Simplicitynot feeling completely at home in Silicon Valley
 Friday, August 2Chapter Seven: Solitude and Prefacesocial insulation
Friday, August 9Chapter Eight: Submissionspheres of authority
 Friday, August 16Chapter Nine: Servicefrom “must I?” to “can I?”
 Friday, August 23Chapter Ten: Confessionspecificity gives confession power
 Friday, August 30Chapter Eleven: Worshipbecome undignified
 Friday, September 6Chapter Twelve: Guidancemaking decisions
 Friday, September 13Chapter Thirteen: Celebration and Appendix: The Great Conversationrejoicing in the everyday
 concluding thoughtsthe shortcomings of trying without training

Classes resume Monday, September 23 and we will resume our weekly on-campus worship services.


The 2018 Books: A C.S. Lewis Assortment

Every year we do a summer reading project. This is a chance for us to continue to grow as a community even though we will be separated by many miles. This summer we’re reading three shorter works by CS Lewis: The Abolition of Man (full text on archive.org), The Four Loves (full text), and The Screwtape Letters (full text). I believe those links are legal – let me know if they are not.

Here’s the reading schedule.

Commencement is Sunday, June 17 – summer begins. 

the reading targetGlen’s commentary
 Friday, June 22The Abolition of Man (49 pages)
Chapter One: Men Without Chests
Chapter Two: The Way
Glen’s commentary: kicking off the summer reading project

 

 

Thoughts on chapters one and two

 Friday, June 29Chapter Three: The Abolition of Man
Appendix: Illustrations of the Tao
Some choice quotes from the end of The Abolition of Man
 Friday, July 6The Four Loves (97 pages)
Introduction
Chapter One: Likings and Loves for the Sub-human
Glen’s thoughts on week three’s readings
 Friday, July 13Chapter Two: AffectionIn which Glen goes on a slight rant about the limits of therapy.
 Friday, July 20Chapter Three: FriendshipGlen says: Chi Alpha friendships are awesome, although male-female friendships are complicated.
 Friday, July 27Chapter Four: ErosGlen’s reflections on the absurdity of sex.
 Friday, August 3Chapter Five: CharityGlen’s comments, including the most famous passage from The Four Loves
 Friday, August 10The Screwtape Letters (119 pages)
Preface
Letters One Through Five
 
 Friday, August 17Letters Six Through Twelve 
 Friday, August 24Letters Thirteen Through Nineteen 
 Friday, August 31Letters Twenty Through Twenty-Five 
 Friday, September 7Letters Twenty-Five Through Thirty 
 Friday, September 14Letter Thirty-One
Screwtape Proposes A Toast
 

Classes resume Monday, September 24 and our first worship services will begin that week.

The 2017 Book: To Change The World

Our book this summer is To Change The World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World by James Davison Hunter, a Christian who is a sociologist at UVA. This is a thoughtful book about Christianity, politics, and culture.

From the publisher’s summary: “The call to make the world a better place is inherent in the Christian belief and practice. But why have efforts to change the world by Christians so often failed or gone tragically awry? And how might Christians in the 21st century live in ways that have integrity with their traditions and are more truly transformative?”

Two helpful reviews are at Books and Culture and 9Marks.

Special bonus – for the first time ever, our summer reading project is a book that is available online via the Stanford Library.

How To Participate

If you’re interested, fill out the form and read along with us! Incoming students as well as alumni are welcome to read along with us. Filling out the form means that we’ll add you to the discussions that we have about the book, but if you prefer to read on your own in total stealth mode, go for it.

Here’s the reading schedule.

Commencement is Sunday, June 18 – summer begins. 

 Friday, June 23Essay I Christianity and World-Changing
Chapter One Christian Faith and the Task of World-Changing (5 pages)
Chapter Two Culture: The Common View (15 pages)
 
 Friday, June 30Chapter Three The Failure of the Common View (16 pages)
Chapter Four An Alternative View of Culture and Cultural Change in Eleven Propositions (16 pages)
 
 Friday, July 7Chapter Five Evidence in History (35 pages) 
 Friday, July 14Chapter Six The Cultural Economy of American Christianity (14 pages)
Chapter Seven For and Against the Mandate of Creation (4 pages)
Glen’s commentary on week 4
 Friday, July 21Essay II Rethinking Power
Chapter One The Problem of Power (2 pages)
Chapter Two Power and Politics in American Culture (10 pages)
Glen’s commentary on week 5
 Friday, August 28Chapter Three The Christian Right (29 pages)Glen’s commentary on week 6
 Friday, August 4Chapter Four The Christian Left (22 pages)Glen’s commentary on week 7
 Friday, August 11Chapter Five The Neo-Anabaptists (21 pages)Glen’s commentary on week 8
 Friday, August 18Chapter Six Illusion, Irony, and Tragedy (10 pages)
Chapter Seven Rethinking Power: Theological Reflections (18 pages)
Glen’s commentary on week 9
 Friday, August 25Essay III Toward a New City Commons: Reflections on a Theology of Faithful Presence
Chapter One The Challenge of Faithfulness (15 pages)
Glen’s commentary on week 10
 Friday, September 1Chapter Two Old Cultural Wineskins (14 pages)
Chapter Three The Groundwork for an Alternative Way (13 pages)
Glen’s commentary on week 11
 Friday, September 8Chapter Four Toward a Theology of Faithful Presence (17 pages)Glen’s commentary on week 12
 Friday, September 15Chapter Five The Burden of Leadership: A Theology of Faithful Presence in Practice (17 pages)
Chapter Six Toward a New City Commons (13 pages)
Glen’s commentary on week 13

Classes resume Monday, September 25 and our first worship services will begin that week.